After a high-profile, media-free opening of its Seattle area office in 2015, SpaceX has been rather circumspect about its plans to build and launch a satellite constellation to provide global broadband access. Until this week, that is.
On Tuesday, SpaceX’ officially pulled the cover off of its plans in the form of an application filed with the Federal Communications Commission.
Here are excerpts from the application itself:
“The SpaceX non-geostationary orbit (“NGSO”) satellite system (the “SpaceX System”) consists of a constellation of 4,425 satellites (plus in-orbit spares)1 operating in 83 orbital planes (at altitudes ranging from 1,110 km to 1,325 km), as well as associated ground control facilities, gateway earth stations and end user earth stations.”
“The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental and professional users worldwide. Advanced phased array beam-forming and digital processing technologies within the satellite payload give the system the ability to make highly efficient use of Ku- and Ka-band spectrum resources and the flexibility to share that spectrum with other licensed users. User terminals operating with the SpaceX System will use similar phased array technologies to allow for highly directive, steered antenna beams that track the system’s low-Earth orbit satellites. Gateway earth stations also apply advanced phased array technologies to generate high-gain steered beams to communicate with multiple NGSO satellites from a single gateway site. The system will also employ optical inter-satellite links for seamless network management and continuity of service, (emphasis added) which will also aid in complying with emissions constraints designed to facilitate spectrum sharing with other systems.”
Note: As far as brand identity goes, SpaceX, like Tesla, is a potential blockbuster of globe spanning proportions. The problem for the moment is that unlike the $80,000 cars offered by Tesla that at least some of us can buy, nobody is in the market for their very own Falcon 9. If and when SpaceX launches its satellite broadband service, that could change in a very big way, as one of the sexiest names in business goes up against some of the least liked, albeit unavoidably necessary.
This shoud be fun.